Today at 3:30 pm at Ellis Oval/Zimman Field, the Tufts football team will hold a “draft day” for 8-year-old Riley Roman, welcoming him into the program after he was recently diagnosed with a primitive neuroectodermal brain tumor.
The gesture is being made possible by Team IMPACT, a non-profit that offers team-based support systems for children battling life-threatening illnesses. Roman, a South Hadley native, has been treated at Children’s Hospital Boston, where he has undergone two brain surgeries and is now on his second round of chemotherapy.
Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich will be at the draft today — Ninkovich met Riley while making a hospital visit and has stayed in touch with him ever since. Dan Kraft (LA ‘87), whose father Robert is the owner of the Patriots, is one of four Tufts alumni on the Team IMPACT board.
In the fall, the women’s soccer team took 8-year-old Joli Talusan Vega under its wing through the Team IMPACT program, and Vega became a staple on the sidelines at both home and away games.